Sunday, September 25, 2016

Clenching your fist is healing?




For almost a decade now, I have been doing Muay Thai. I am hooked to it, simply because in trying to struggle to get one movement just right is so engrossing that I find it super meditative.

And even today, after years, to be able to hold the clenched fist, for a proper punch, is an effort. Perhaps I have deep inhibitions in my mind that I wish to remove, and they are still there, like so much muck under the water's surface:)

So, I wanted to see what yoga had to say about clenched fist, which is, as anybody who knows yoga or Indian classical dance, is  known as mushti / mushtika mudra.

In ayurveda and yoga, the thumb represents the fire element.

In this context, you will know that when the thumb presses down firmly over the other fingers, it suppresses all the other elements and therefore their aggravation.

Which means it controls lethargy (of the ring finger), flow of bodily fluids like mucous, menses, saliva, sweat, oil (of the little finger), agitation of the spirit and the mind (of the middle and index finger respectively). Since fire is seen has the lord of the  other elements, the thumb is the last word on control.  So, yes, wow!


These are the other aspects of the elements it suppresses:

* Dullness of the mind
* Excessive boredom
* Low self-esteem
* Excessive feelings of cold
* Oily hair, skin
* Lack of sweating
* Low appetite
* Sluggish metabolism
* Lack of thirst
* Weight gain
* Hypothyroidism
* Absence of periods
* Too much mucous


Points to note: Since the thumb represents the fire element, you may want to use this with discretion and only on prescription, or for limited time. It will dry you out, overheat you and overcharge (like a mobile phone, if you want to understand in contemporary context;) Drink a lot of water and fluids  and hydrate even if you are prescribed this mudra.

Avoid when having heating conditions, like ulcers, fevers, inflammations.

Or have a high pitta dosha.

Or you will erupt -- in body and mind!!



Friday, September 16, 2016

Hobbies to heal your chakras

Most people think only contorting on the mat, or having your kundalini "prodded"by an expensive workshops (many sound so scammy, I wonder  at the general intelligence of people attending them) will sort their problems.

I have been screaming from the rooftops that the best way to do it is very simple. Read Dr David Frawley's book Ayurvedic Healing, or read his books on Yoga and Ayurveda:)

Any case, was browsing through my huuuuge collection of books on alternative sciences and dug up this rather integrated book by Amit Goswami titled Quantum Doctor which has a foreword by Deepak Chopra (and don't let that detract you from the contents of the book. And yes, I am just joking, in my initial stages of yoga I read up most of Deepak Chopra's books to get a quantum look at healing till his books became rather repetitive).

The older I grow, the faster I realise that there is a huge relationship between how our feedback loop to simple events are, and these in fact, decide our body type, our ailment track and finally, and most importantly, determine our healing.

How you think can and does reflect on your body. And more than anything else one needs to overhaul the way we think. To this, we need to incorporate not hard choices, but simple fun activities that draws us away from our natural inclinations and rewrites our inner programming.

Here is Goswami's take on this. To read more on it, you really want to read his book. He is a Ph.d physicist, and gives a very scientific spin to this subject (as Chopra used to) make it intensely appealing to even the hardcore rationalist.



Monday, August 22, 2016

Jekyll and Hyde aspects of yoga practice


Sociologists will surely have a reason as to why neoconverts stake more me-mine-onlymine claim to old practices. So I will dispense with that psychobabble. But there is similar aggressive attempt to reclaim yoga as one's own and for a sincere practitioner this can be disturbing.  Simply because many of those who staking claim to yoga hardly practice it. 

But that is their problem. Seriously. If there is a toss between arguing for or against yoga, or just practising it, what would the most sincere person do? Precisely. Same thing is happening with religions around the world  and that can be a dangerous thing. 

 I have learnt -- and I actually felt a deep depression for a few years about this aspect of teaching it -- is that oftentimes a yoga practice can help the crook become more  crooked. That is why in ancient India the custom  of initiation was instituted (not to make money for the guru!) so the teacher knew which disciple  had the spiritual stamina and integrity to be able to handle the strengths and powers that came with a strong, solid practice. Remember the line from Spiderman.. with great power comes great responsibility? 
Here is what Swami Krishnananda, the disciple of my Sadguru Sivananda, has to say about this aspect of yoga: 

Nothing can be so beneficial as yoga is, and nothing can be so terrific and frightening as yoga is. This is the irony of the whole matter. It is not easy for a person to feel in one's own heart that a concentration on a form, what that form may be, inward or outward, is capable of bestowing abundance of the riches of the world. Who does not wish to become a king, if that were predictable? 

These difficulties will have to be faced one day or the other. In facing them, many have failed, have had a fall. With such a thud, they had to break their heads. They would have been better without yoga than with it. "

If you know what are some of the powers yoga is said to bestow you will know that why in the hands of the crook, it can be a dangerous thing: 
The eight siddhis are anima (the ability to become small), mahima (the ability to become big), garima (become heavy), laghima (become light), prapti (obtain all), prakamya (do /achieve anything), isitva (lordship /control over all), vasitva (control over the elements). 



If you know the story of tantric yogi Milerapa, his guru Marpa does not reveal to him the  secrets of what he is seeking because  he knows Milarepa was already super strong. (With his tantric powers Milarepa had sought to avenge his family's suffering by attacking those who had caused it).  Marpa first humbles him completely, in several ways that can only seen as pure torture, before he initiates him to the ultimate secret. Nowadays, it is easier to get yourself initiated into anything with a bit of money!  But those days the real guru knew that too much a good thing, if not monitored, could actually be a bad thing. 


Tuesday, August 09, 2016

The dangers of overflowing chakras


So there are a lot of yogä "experts"these days offering to make your blocked chakras flow. This is an extremely tricky place. Very few masters will proudly discuss their intuitive understanding of something like the chakras. More evolved masters than these Johnny-come-lately types refuse to discuss this esoteric topic simply because it is not for the ordinary people. For instance, you know you have a heart. You may even read up all about its physical shape and where it is and what its functions are and its diseases. But will you cut it open and prod it about trying to find out if it is working optimally or not? That is the sort of ridiculous things that are being offered these days into something you really do not want to mess it! 
The problem of being an honest yoga teacher amongst  a lot of charlatans who have mastered the act of acting like masters (u get the drift) is going to be a real issue for some of us:) 

Above I have listed the real demons of having a overflowing chakra. Reading it should give you enough reasons not to want to make any chakra overflow. 
The key phrase everybody, including the charlatans are missing, is "balancing the chakras". 
A steady practice will clear your nadis, energy channels. When their pathways are clear, the chakras will balance themselves out. Do not opt for short cut "chakra operations."
Invest in a strong practice, instead. 
Happy sadhana! 


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Angushta drishti

You keep learning new things to do on the mat. And one of the things I am tripping about currently is the subject of drishtis -- points of focus.

For someone like me who has had to really struggle with balance (as a high vata person), drishtis are natural props. I cannot go ahead anywhere on the mat without the support a drishti provides.

In fact, the faster you establish the drishti -- which usually falls in place even without too much scholarship -- the sooner you reach a difficult pose. Some poses require external points of focus. Some need an internal one. Which of these you favour  may depend on your orientation as well as your weakness in a particular pose. All difficulties in a pose are places where you grow -- soulwise (yeah, I mean it in the context of wisdom of the soul:)

It is equally hilarious to see how people who claim to be fixated on the mat, and who even hold the drishtis, still extrovert the mind towards others in the class. And it is as if the main purpose of the drishti is totally lost on this person. As a teacher, you often struggle to reach this point across -- but it is difficult. 

As Ramana Maharishi explains the energy chooses its devotees. So, I wonder sometimes this too --this extroversion of the spirit of some yogis -- is also just a game being played out by Maya. Even a teacher cannot quarrel with THAT!

But that was an aside. Now back to our exciting preoccupation with the idea of drishti, and in this blog exclusively devoted to angushta drishti: 

* Whereever eyes are used, a natural trataka (yogic eye fixation) is established. And this said to cleanse the mind.
* In marma (energy points in the body) the thumb point covers the energy points of the other fingers as well.
* In martial arts, a hit on this part of your hand can disable you.
* The thumb is also connected to the eyes in marma therapy.
* In reflexology so many points are stacked up in the thumb -- pituitary, the adrenals, kidneys, pancreas, thyroid, parathyroid.
* In mudra therapy the thumb represents the element of fire -- and is used to transmute and control other four elements due to this power.

So maybe it is time to think of focusing on the thumb when doing some poses (like the backbends where the hands are held behind, as in the urdhva uttanasana /or ardha crescent /padahastasana )
so you can tweak so many important aspects of your mind and body.

And of course, the introversion will bring you closer to the cosmic truth.
And if you are not ready for it,   at least close to a better and more focused human being than yesterday:)

Happy sadhana!




Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Most thrilling pose: spiritual and physical highs of the scorpion pose

I learnt the scorpion in my 40s. I have fallen several times. Hurt myself because I was, as usual, learning this on my own.

But the most amazing experience of my forearm fracture... (the pose totally rests on your forearms) ..is that I have not fallen since the fracture --simply because I can't afford to jerk that arm. It's been only 4 months since the ulna practically broke into 2 pieces in a freak accident.  So intriguingly my mind has entered another layer of body awareness which is more clarified. Very exciting, sort of an out-of-body  awareness. I am sure people who have had traumatising physical experiences have this sense of stepping back from their body.

Interestingly, verbatim similar notes on the scorpion pose' s benefits exist in both Swami Satyanandaji's and BKS's bestsellers
respectively: that just by pointing/or  resting the feet on the head the yogi is destroying the poisons of ego, malice, anger, hatred, intolerance, jealousy. Hence the scorpion metaphor of cleaning oneself up spiritually.

Yesssss. .it is an anti-aging pose, according to Swami Satyanandaji. And especially pumps up the blood to the master glands in your brain. Other benefits are well-known so I won't get into that.

My own experience with the pose has been on how it releases energy. Usually my left nostril is blocked in the mornings.  But when I do the scorpion it just immediately opens up both nostrils. It's as if some big internal switch is pressed on. And some deep psychosomatic trapdoor is released. And I am that little bit more released. So it's an immediate high.
Tips for newcomers to this pose:
* I normally advise practitioners to work up to 3 minutes minimum in the supported headstand
* Then have a complementary practice of the unsupported headstand because this prepares u for the shakiness  u experience in the scorpion.
* Work on your backbends
* Work on your planks

Happy sadhana!!


Monday, June 27, 2016

The center of the battering ram

Parivritta Naukasana - Revolved boat pose

The symbol of the third center is the ram. It's clearly very telling ..of the strength of this center to your entire being. The core ..that part of the body that the entire look-good industry thrives on.

This center - where most of your breath originates - is treated with a lot of respect by martial arts across the world. More on that later. But we all know how difficult it is to cultivate an aesthetic ( read flat stomach )  naturally.  What u eat ( lack of protein, too much sodium or salt , beer or alcohol etc) can cause the stomach to swell up even in skinny people. What u think, your thoughts  also affects it's shape ( excessively angry people, highly stressed or highly anxious people for instance will have a disportionately large bellies ).

According the Kundalini yoga traditions these are the negative effects when your " ram" is in trouble:

1. Excessive rigid way of thinking
2. Greed
3. Constant need to have external approval
4. Manipulative
5. Self-indulgent
6. Procrastination

When it your "ram" is happy
1. Leadership
2. Practical goals
3. Collective responsibility
4. Will power
5. Self- confidence and self-control.
6. Doer

As a teacher and practitioner I find that this is the most challenging centre to deal with - on the mat.  Most people can be " stuck" at this center. It's possibly because it's a bridge between the animal in us and the sublime. 

Earlier I used to wring  my wrists about how resistant people are towards changing themselves. They come to yoga for health, for weight loss, for looking good or younger. But nobody sees this as the most scientific way to change themselves for the better. ( Possibly they think they are too good already;)

Some poses that challenge and tone the third chakra are:
* Dhanurasana ( bow)
* Naukasana (Boat pose)
* Dwipadasuptapawanmuktasana ( Two-legged lying energy release pose)


Yoga = Alchemy :)

Choose it to change yourself! 
Happy sadhana


Friday, June 24, 2016

Know your Solar plexus : secret of the Manipura chakra

Martial artists have for long celebrated this centre as the seat of power. And in a manner of speaking the rest of the world concedes it's importance by fussing about its aesthetics. ..a flat belly -by hook, crook or the surgeon's knife  ..is regarded as desirable. 
For some reason a slack belly evokes mirth. We try to hide it either with tight clothes or loose ones, depending on our orientation and body image.
For me the spiritual impact of the solar plexus region is extremely fascinating. But nowadays u can't say such things without the lunatics in the yoga world sabotaging it while the misguided theists go into an overdrive of suspicion.  If nothing else we can remove the mumbo jumbo out of this and see it purely in the context of psychosomatic impact if that attracts the rationalists.
Whatever it is here is a snapshot of your belly power..
When this center is troubled it happens due to certain types of mind frame which yoga calls vrittis or mental waves.
1. Spiritual ignorance
2. Thirst
3. Jealousy
4. Treachery
5. Shame
6. Fearq
7. Disgust
8. Delusion
9. Foolishness
10. Sadness

( From the book Manipura chakra by Rishi Nityabodhanandha for Bihar School of Yoga)

I don't know how many of us will concede our belly fat or digestive disasters are due to foolishness or treachery.  But maybe there is a way of dealing with our body's issues through the mind. Tomorrow I will compile on the physical issues of this center. So we can tackle it from various angles.
Manipura, the yogic name for the navel center, means the jewelled city. So there are treasures here ..in this center ..that are special. And to reach this city we need the right map.  We must know the terrain.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Types of yoga classes: the good, bad and the ugly

The illustration is self-explanatory.

I have new students, fresh to yoga. And some who have tried different yoga classes. I prefer the rank new comers to yoga because it depresses me to see how even after 2 or 3 years with a teacher or style some students don't have the basics right,  of a yoga code of conduct or even poses like the fish ,matsyasana ( which is a qualifying pose that way) ).
Some of these teachers are teaching celebs and some teachers have super practices.

So even while learning yoga myself I have seen how a pracititioner with a super yoga practice can be a lousy teacher. Then there are timid teachers who share more theory than practice. Some teachers who focus  on standing / floor poses for the entire class because to teach inversions or arm balances is too demanding.  The variations and combinations of teachers and students are exhausting.
It used to irritate me how casually yoga was being treated including by big institutions. Often it has become a way in which ashram heads keep rich people / donors happy by making them yoga teachers!  It gives bored rich women a halo and it gets the ashrams   more bored rich donors seeking salvation. But I have resolved this irritation now ..in  my head. I believe u get the yoga teacher u deserve.
So if u are in a class where sadhana is not paramount that is your choice, your karma.


Monday, May 09, 2016

Why sitting cross-legged can sort u physically, spiritually



Often it is funny how people pretending to be seated still will wriggle their toes or feet. They are extremely disturbed at sitting cross-legged on the ground.  But it's an ancient Indian practice now trying a comeback. It's treated as an exotic pose.the lotus or padmasana. But it should be   natural to us. Sitting on the chair could be unnatural, disconnected na?
The other equally neglected pose but which is celebrated by ancient rishis is siddhasana. For women the version would be siddhayoniasana.
Here is why sitting cross-legged works even if only at the physical level. According to Swami Niranjanananda (in his comment on siddhasana) : Meridians in the feet are stimulated and they are connected with the visceral organs eg the stomach, gallbladder, liver, spleen, kidneys, etc and all these poses have important roles in purifying the blood. "


Saturday, May 07, 2016

Urdhva dandasana: why this pose should not be used as entry for headstand



Urdhva dandasana/ upward rod pose. I also like to refer to it as samkonsirasana/ right angle headstand. Entire pressure builds up on neck and shoulders. I was very very surprised when students from other yoga schools said their teachers had tried to coax them to enter the basic headstand in this pose. Clearly none of those beginners got the headstand. Without preparing the neck for the strength to do it is really strange and even dangerous,  and can cause chronic neck pain.
* Most yoga teachers who don't have the patience to teach the akunchanasan / scrunch or heron transition in the basic headstand will push their students to try this..it's an advanced pose and needs more strength
* Since the hips move off the center right towards the back more scope for falling. .so only an experienced yoga practitioner can control that shift
* More awareness required to draw the hips back to center..again only an advanced practitioner can control this
* Also elbows will lift off in a beginner due to lack of control. .

Be smart in the yoga u do and choosing the quality and integrity of a teacher

#Yogaahhh # Yogadaily # toughyoga # sirsasana #urdhvadandasana #inversions


Thursday, May 05, 2016

The eyes are the keys



I I am learning very exciting stuff about the psychosomatic link between the eyes and one's moods. Apparently the eye muscles that surround the eyes called orbicularis oculi impact happiness centers in your brain. ( Refer The Science of Happiness by Stefan Klein ).
That made me curious about trataka. .the fifth stage of yoga.
Here are some powers that according Swami Niranjanananda come from regular practice of the eye exercises.
*  One could get rid of all fears.
* The special powers of yoga called siddhis are achieved through it.
* Develops mental focus.
* Improve memory
* Develops self confidence


Friday, April 29, 2016

Happiness yoga: practice to beat the blues

Reading the biology of happiness by neuroscientist Stefan Klein( The science of happiness). So did this small diagram to explain your brain map of happiness. Am finding interesting tidbits as to you can sort yourself physically. So much of this spoors back to yoga for me and the awe how rishis guessed these connections.
If the right brain is dominant people find it difficult to recover from bad experience, even something simple like a bad image in the papers. Even after the subconscious suppresses the reaction it stays below the surface as a bad feeling.
In yoga  u can sort your L -R brain imbalance and activate the left brain with the surya bheda ( the sun breath). But it needs to be monitored by an expert.
Tomorrow will ecplain how surya bheda may be done


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Yoga tip for the summer

Ok everybody thinks I am just posting yoga stuff that looks exotic or complicated. Actually yoga is a way of life. Here is a summer trick u can use
Yoga tip for summer: varun mudra( also jal mudra/ jal vardhak mudra)
The names mean rain/ water/increase water respectively.
The names say it all about its benefits.
Touch tip of little finger to tip of thumb, for each hand. Hold for 30 mins or more daily.
Increases water, as well works wherever there is deficit of body fluids ..semen/ menses/ dehydration/ thirst/ eye moisture/ saliva/ digestive juices. Go back to your school biology books and search up the entire list of fluids in body then u will appreciate where all this mudra can help.
ALERT: Avoid when there is too much of any fluid. Example? Mucous, excessive menstrual bleeding, water retention. Also ayurvedic kapha personality should avoid it.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tips for Bhumi Pada Mastakasana: Head and foot to to earth pose, advanced variation


Though many yoga schools consider this as the preparatory pose for headstand, I believe this is tougher than a headstand if you decide to stay longer in it. The headstand itself is far lighter than this pose. This is because your body is still close to gravity and therefore its power and drag is more felt.
Here is why this pose is tougher and demands more strength than the headstand:
* It is closer to gravity, so the drag on it is more
* The pressure on the neck is continuous, unlike in the headstand where after the initial pressure the whole body weight shifts to the shoulder.
* The tripod in a basic or even the unsupported headstand is more stable while in this pose, even in its basic variation, it is very unstable, and the entire instability of this pose shifts into neck.

How to avoid injuries in this pose:
* Practice unsupported headstand before trying this.
* Prepare the neck through regular leg raises, with the head lifted up (including in the suptapawanmuktasana) to strengthen the neck.

Contraindications:
Do not try if having
* Neck problems
* Vertigo
* Weak balance (strengthen it in standing poses first)
* Migraine
* High blood pressure/heart problems
 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Rediscovering Astavakragita



When I read the Astavakra Gita the first time I was completely smitten. But I am re-reading it now and find finer fibres of understanding that's magical. I could write reams or put across its magic in a few words. I am going to attempt the latter: the more popular philosophical texts advice us how to be pure or give directions on how to reach this state. Or they unravel  the trajectory  towards that state. But this tiny text book says,  "You are pure."  That you do not need to struggle. That bit is over. Wow. What a mindblowing idea..there is nothing to do any more!
Chapter 19, verse 8:
"To talk about the three ends of life is needless,to talk about yoga is purposeless, and even talk about wisdom  is irrelevant for me who repose in the Self. "



Posted via Blogaway


No yoga without inversions

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10153384417668424&id=51805188423


Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Yoga: of happy scissors, karmic cats


Click to get cool Animations for your MySpace profile
Free MySpace Animations!

We all have our phases. The last one year has been a period of spiritual upheaval for me. It is the sort of crossroads you come to, where the you realize the theory of yoga has to finally pass into experience.

Birth of any sort can be traumatizing. We humans do not like to accept that we are passing through several little deaths and several new births, every few years. None of us are anything close to what we were as kids, yet we hang on to a sense of illusory continuum.



So, to let go of a lot of things that are conditioned into us, is what yoga is all about. There is a lot of embarrassment about seeing this aspect (so intrinsic to yoga), for obvious reasons, and a lot of it stemming from confused religio-spiritual interpretations of it.

But this is a very scientific thing -- if you know of Shroedinger's Cat, then reality is a relative thing. The cat -- in this very scientific paradox of quantum mechanics because of what is defined as a superposition - can be both dead or alive. (What did you guys study in schools, if you don't know this, really?!!!)
(The image is from this link)

So, yes, what is sad could be joyous?! So, it means what is a separation can be a communion? You make some sort of a sense from this madness of appearances. In yogic philosophy, the jiva (the soul as you experience yourself now) is different from the atma (that is the soul that has passed ages). The latter in its separation from the cosmic soul makes tough choices.  The conflict between these two - jiva and atma -- make the drama of your current life. You could die not knowing the subtext of this experience. That too would be a choice of your soul. But if there is a glimmer of awareness, you are lucky.
Then, you realize that everything else that you experience  in this life  is your soul's choice to make the jiva understand this. The purgatory, as it were.  Karma, so blithely explained by many as tit-for-tat is not really that. Au contraire, it is the choice of you own soul to create tough spiritual choices so it can transcend and reach its destination faster. It is an impatient Olympic runner who has no patience for a plodding partner. The destination, the plodder, the super-runner, are all the same. The one who experiences no conflict between these several roles, understands yoga.

Some enlightened soul immediately understand how this paradox can exist. Others, aspiring, have to struggle. The practice of yoga makes lights up this passage of struggle. It clarifies.

So, no I have not attained moksha yet. But I get the idea of the karmic Schroedinger's cat, thanks to yoga.  
Click to get cool Animations for your MySpace profile
Free MySpace Animations!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sacred geometry. .yantras

Sacred geometry is a complete subject in itself. In yoga it is the esoteric yantras. But across the globe, across cultures,  across human history, geometric figures have always been part of sacred rituals and sacred spaces. Today I was thinking of focusing on one figure and learn about its impact on human psyche: so its the circle.
Here is what master yogi  Harish Johari has if point is condensed energy a circle is its extension.
Simply put a circle defines:
* Phenomenal world
* Infinity
* Space
*:Water

Johari also says it represents dynamism
Scientists who study the connection between art and the human brain will tell us that at a very subliminal level the geometric shapes do carry
a subtext loaded with meaning. Ergonomists, interior designers, architects, space consultants already exploit this connection.


Monday, September 07, 2015

GIFTS OF SITTING STILL



The gifts u win for sitting calmly
According to Tibetan Buddhist leader Thich Naht Hanh:
* Courage
* Compassion
* Clarity
* Peace

We first get compassion. This gets us courage. Its interesting to note that compassion is linked with courage. This is directly opposite to what we have been taught so far.
Compassion for yourself and others gives you the courage to fight your spiritual battles. And compassion can be cultivated only when we are at peace with ourselves. And when we are at peace mentally we can think clearly.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Svargadvidasana:bird of paradise pose

It's an exotic among exotic poses. So fills u with exhilaration. .even a master like BKS is not above that thrill as mentioned in his Light on Yoga book. This a very tough variation of the basic one. In the latter the top leg is held with this leg lock.  Holding the bottom leg requires tremendous control over balance.
Tip: Master the basic.  Then use a wall to lean while experimenting with this version.  It falls in place, suddenly. Pure serendipity. .

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

More on mayurasana: try this quiz before you learn about its powerful impact

(Pose: Padmamayuraana/lotus peacock)
How do you sequence this pose? Beginning of the yoga sadhana or end? And why?

This is one of the most spiritual poses, simply because of its purificatory nature. In Indian mythology a peacock is the natural enemy of a snake, and therefore  this pose also has that implication -- that it is the natural enemy of the toxic part of who we are  !

Swami Satyananadaji who writes a lot on poses from various angles -- the psychic, spiritual, biological and psycho-somatic -- says it can speed up the throw of toxins and should be part of those who want to clarify things, internally or externally.  Along these lines, it  can help skin clear up, tone the digestion, and tone the entire endocrine gland system.


ANSWER: IT SHOULD BE DONE TOWARDS THE END OF ONE'S PRACTICE.

Here are Swamiji's words: That it should be done towards the end of one's practice because it builds up toxins, imminent to their release. And if you do inversions after the peacock, you may end up with toxin overload in your head!
 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Peacock pose, understanding the risks


The peacock pose is amongst the classic poses  normally listed in most yoga texts. As you read them, you will find that certain poses are mentioned as common favorites by these ancient hatha yogis. And peacock pose is one of the spiritual poses, and helps you to digest poison physically (and also mentally, I gather).

But certain schools -- especially the therapy based ones -- do not recommend this where certain existing problems persist. Equally, similarly "timid" schools would say that this pose is contraindicated for women and totally avoidable. There is a very good reason for this, if you remember the context in which it is placed. In earlier traditions, and I would say right up to my mom's time, most deliveries of babies were natural births. My mom would say that a woman was physically very busy till the last day of her delivery which facilitated natural childbirth. Plus, most women had several offspring. By the time she reached the third baby, often her hips had widened, and her reproductive system become so flexible inside that she could stand holding the cradle (they used to have the saree tied to a wooden rod, I recall) and feel the baby emerging and could deliver easily and smoothly!
All of this meant of course, that there was a certain natural looseness at the uterine passage. So, peacock, because it applies tremendous pressure, can cause uterine prolapse in such women or if they have incidence of it, worsen the situation.

It is also not recommended for those with a fragile heart. The elbows squeeze into the large liver, one whose functions is to sponge off excess blood that piles up in the cardiac chambers. So, for those with a heart condition, the pressure that piles up at the heart would be beyond permissible levels.

Women who wish to hold the pose and ensure the pelvic floor does not slacken with regular practice of the peacock pose (mayurasana) must hold the root lock firmly when lifting up.
Happy sadhana
 

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Yoga of fragrance

Acharya Keshav Dev, a yoga master who has authored several books on the more esoteric, less known aspects of yoga, contributes one full chapter to the subject of fragrances in his book A Mystery. He writes of Dhoomra chikitsa (therapy of fumes) and gandha vidya (science of fragrances) as separate branches of yoga. He lists a few flowers in this chapter. Rose, he observes, was used as an aphrodisiac. Lotus was used to heighten meditation. Balsam flowers cured insomnia. The common hyacinth regarded as pest these it was used to control cardiac problems and anxiety. On the aesthetic front, it helped in hair growth, as did hibiscus flower (used also as a natural hair dye and conditioner to keep hair silky and manageable).